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UK Market Advances

The UK market is in positive territory on Thursday, ahead of key interest rate decisions from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. The Asian markets ended mostly lower, while the U.S. index futures look to a higher open.

At 7.00 am ET, the Bank of England is slated to announce the results of the monetary policy meeting. The nine-member committee is expected to maintain quantitative easing at 375 billion pounds and the interest rate at a record low 0.50 percent.

At 7.45 am ET, the European Central Bank is set to announce its interest rate decision. The central bank is seen holding its key interest rate at 0.75 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a regular press conference at 8.30 am ET.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.56 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is losing 0.20 percent.

The FTSE 100 index is advancing 0.4 percent.

Temporary power provider Aggreko reported higher profit and revenue for the year and increased its dividend. The stock is gaining around 11 percent.

IMI is advancing 5.3 percent and Admiral Group is rising 3.1 percent.

Goldman Sachs raised Antofagasta to ''Neutral'' from ''Sell.'' The stock is gaining 1.2 percent.

Insurer Aviva, which cut dividend, is plunging over 12 percent. Peer Standard Life is gaining 1.4 percent.

Petropavlovsk is declining over 8 percent. Nomura cut the stock to ''Reduce'' from ''Buy.''

Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX and the French CAC 40 are making moderate gains, while Switzerland's SMI is fractionally higher.

Across Asia/Pacific, markets mostly fell. Australia's All Ordinaries slid 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged down marginally, while China's Shanghai Composite Index lost around 1 percent. Nikkei 225, however, rose 0.30 percent, after Japan's central bank decided to keep its monetary policy unchanged.

In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line, although the Dow still reached a new record closing high. While the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent, the Dow rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is gaining $0.28 at $90.71 per barrel and April gold is rising $4.2 at $1579.1 a troy ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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